Elisheva and Eleanor grew up in a small family hotel that their parents managed in Jerusalem. One day, an uncle from America, a well-known historian, comes to the hotel to write a book about Hitler. When it is published, the book creates a scandal-it is written as an autobiography narrated by the infamous Fhrer himself. What no one knows, however, is that while writing it, the uncle raped Elisheva, then in high school, and sadistically abused her. This, under the pretext of experiencing evil for the sake of his work. Following this trauma, Elisheva has a breakdown and tries to kill herself, but is saved by a young American Evangelist who falls in love with her and marries her. After converting to Christianity, Elisheva returns with her husband to the U.S., finds her place in his community and is able to forgive her uncle.
At the time, her sister Eleanor repressed the incident and put it out of her mind. Now, many years later, when she is happily married and writing for a local Jerusalem newspaper, her uncle tries to contact her. He is coming to Jerusalem again. The awful memories resurface and she decides to take revenge for her sister. But will that free her and give her the peace she seeks? In this wise book, Hareven examines the need for revenge as opposed to the need to forgive, and explores the question of human evil.
Brilliant, and as surprising as a hand grenade-complex and full of contradictions. Hareven joins writers like Nabokov, Orwell and Dostoyevsky in her exploration of evil, forgiveness and punishment.
You will not be able to put this book down for more than a few hours.
A wonderful and horrifying opening... Only at the end do you understand the plot that has unraveled - a painful and brilliant deception.
English translation available